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Commonwealth Leaders Vow To Do More To Develop Member States

by Edmund Kagire
7:42 pm

Leaders of The Commonwealth met with King Charles III in London.

Commonwealth wealth leaders have pledged to do more to develop their respective countries and invest in programs that empower youth and the bloc continues its efforts to remain relevant in the new world order.

Ahead of the Coronation, Leaders of Commonwealth member states met with His Majesty King Charles III at Marlborough House, the Headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat. After their meeting with the King, leaders from the Commonwealth’s 56 member states then met privately to discuss issues of mutual interest, including initiatives to support the empowerment of young people, as this year has been designated the Commonwealth Year of Youth.

The King described the Commonwealth as a ‘cornerstone’ of his life, expressing his unwavering support for the values, people and countries of the Commonwealth. At their Heads of Government Meeting in 2018, Commonwealth Leaders decided that he would succeed Queen Elizabeth II as Head of the Commonwealth, and he acceded to the role upon her death in September 2022.

“During Friday’s meeting, the King extended his warm greetings to the leaders and posed with them for a commemorative family photograph. Later in the evening, the leaders expected to attend a reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by the King,” an official statement from the Commonwealth said.

Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland said The Commonwealth is looking to tap into the immense potential it has to transform member states.

“I can think of no stronger signal of His Majesty’s deep connection to our Family of Nations than taking time to meet with Commonwealth Leaders at Marlborough House ahead of his Coronation. Earlier this year, the King highlighted the Commonwealth’s ‘near-boundless potential as a force for good’.

In today’s meeting, leaders reaffirmed their unwavering and unified commitment to the continued strengthening of our Commonwealth family and assuring its future by investing in the 1.5 billion young people across our 56 nations.

The Secretary-General observed that the Commonwealth is growing in size, scale and influence, especially as the event also welcomed the leaders of Togo and Gabon, who attended their first meeting of Commonwealth Leaders today.

President Paul Kagame, in his role as Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth, also addressed the meeting. He welcomed the leaders of the two newest Commonwealth countries and paid tribute to the new Commonwealth Head.

President Kagame speaks to King Charles III and other leaders in London

President Kagame also said, “We appreciate the King’s lifelong devotion to Commonwealth affairs, just as we remember the role of her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, in giving the modern Commonwealth its shape and spirit.”

His Highness Tuimalealiifano Va’aleto’a Sualauvi II, the Head of State of Samoa also attended the event as the incoming Commonwealth Chair-in-Office. In 2024, Samoa will succeed Rwanda as chair at the 27th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Apia, the capital city.

Alongside the Leaders Meeting, the Commonwealth Secretariat also hosted a gathering of the spouses, partners and the invited guests of Commonwealth Heads of Government. The event, which was hosted by Mrs Jeannette Kagame, the First Lady of Rwanda, focused on the action needed to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer and tackle challenges impeding progress towards this goal across the Commonwealth. The spouses and partners in attendance pledged to champion advocacy and action in their respective countries.

The year also marks the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Commonwealth Charter, which reaffirms the values and principles of the Commonwealth as well as its aspirations. As well as being designated the Year of the Youth, 2023 is also being marked as the Commonwealth Year of Peace.

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 56 independent and equal sovereign states, with a  combined population of 2.5 billion, of which more than 60 per cent is aged 29 or under. The leaders agreed to invest more in initiatives that boost the youth.

In the wake of the global crises, The Commonwealth is looking to working towards supporting economies and boost trade, deliver national resilience, empower young people, and address threats such as climate change, debt, and inequality.

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